Friday, September 3, 2010

Creationism in Science Classes?

This may be a mainly American phenomenon but here in the states we have a fairly large contingency of something called Creationists. Much like those that still believe the Earth is flat or that the sun revolves around it Creationists cling to ancient ideas and concepts in favor of the well-founded scientific conclusions. Most Creationists here in the USA are Christian and they seek to supplant any scientific concepts that contradict their particular myth. Where do they get their myth? Why Genesis, the first book of the Bible, of course.

The odd thing is that while concentrating on anything scientific that contradicts their creation story they are neglecting to notice that the Bible itself contains two contradictory creation accounts.

Genesis one begins with God creating the Heavens and the Earth. Many mistakenly believe that God starts out by making the Earth or by saying let there be light. Nope. Genesis 1:1 says God created the Heavens and the Earth. It says that the Earth was without form, so apparently it existed. Then God creates light and separates the waters below from the waters above. This alone should give Creationists and Fundamentalists pause. After all this is depicting God creating the firmament, a dome that blocked out the oceans that filled outer space. References to the firmament litter the Bible, including one in Noah that claims the windows of Heaven were opened. For ancient people this was not only an explanation for why the sky was blue (water) and why it rained (water coming from above the firmament) but it also served to explain the sun moon and stars as each being fixed within layers of the firmament and spinning around the Earth. Yet you don’t see too many Bible believers talking about their being water in space above a firmament that covers the Earth… Now it is true there are Geocentrists (those that believe the Earth is the center of the solar system) still out there but even amongst Creationists they are considered nuts…

My question is if we are willing to ridicule Geocentrists than why does the American media, and indeed many Americans themselves, not do the same to Creationists. They’re getting their ideas from a book that claims the heavens are filled with water. The frightening thing is that there have been powerful political forces on the side of teaching Creationism in schools. The so called Intelligent Design movement, a deceptive rebranding of Creationism, has been fighting tooth and nail to put their religious views into science classrooms.

Most, however, are not directly pushing that the Bible be offered in these classes, instead their cry has been to “Teach the Controversy”. By this they mean they want students to be told that Evolutionary theory is only a theory in the colloquial sense and not in the scientific sense. They want their own personal, religiously motivated, objections to Evolution to be voiced in class. What they want is a seed of doubt to be planted. They want fact and sound science to be presented as if they were flimsy and fleeting. They want one hundred and fifty plus years of scientific progress to be torn to shreds by their strawman attacks.

I am unsure if they would ever be so bold as to teach the Biblical creation story in the classrooms if they won their case. If they did however I have no doubts that it would fail miserably. After all even if they taught Creationism what exactly would they teach? Magical Creation is hardly a replacement for sound science. That is not to say we should give up the fight against them and allow them to teach but merely that on equal footing Creation cannot stand up to scrutiny and has no evidence in support of it. After all how does one find evidence of a Creator who appears to be using direct divine command to summon things into existence via magic?

The honest truth is that the majority of them do not want Creation on equal footing with Evolution. They want to tear down their strawman of Evolution and give their myth a few scientific sounding words like intelligent designer and convert using the school system. Not only is this dishonest and deceptive but it is in direct violation of the First Amendment and the separation of Church and State.

Why are Evolution and Christianity at Odds?

The truth is they probably shouldn’t be. Let’s face it, there are 2 billion Christians on the planet and of that number only a certain percentage are Creationists. The vast majority of believers accept Evolution without much of a problem. Why is that? The answer is that the fundamentalists and Creationists have committed a massive fallacy, they have confused their God for the book written about Him. The Bible has become their deity.

I used to be a Christian so I know that at the heart of the religion is supposed to be a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Many fundamentalists have entirely lost sight of this idea, they have replaced God with the Bible and have assumed it is his word merely because they have been taught that it is. I too struggled with fundamentalism for a time, my Father was a fundamentalist and it wasn’t until I read the Bible without assuming it was true from the start that I began to see the silly and absurd aspects to it. It is a book of myths and stories most of which are meant to convey morals or proverbs. Some of these morals and proverbs still ring true today but many of the stories are also barbaric and primitive or depict God as vengeful, sometimes downright evil.

Another reason Evolution and Christianity should have no real problem is that Evolution explains only bio-diversity. Evolution IS NOT about the origin of life. The origin of life is an entirely different scientific topic known as Abiogenesis.

Arguing against Evolution is like arguing against gravity (see: Intelligent Falling). Even if a God exists it is clear from genetics, the fossil record, morphological similarities, and behavioral similarities that Evolution is the source of bio-diversity. Evolution might just be a natural process by which God created, however Creationists would never concede to this as it directly contradicts their myth of the week long magic trick.

It's Confession Time:

I used to be an Old Earth Creationist. Yes back in my teenage years when I still took the Bible seriously on most of what it said you could find me online researching how Evolution was a lie and mankind had been created by God. It’s important to note that I’ve always had an interest in cryptozoology a branch of pseudoscience that specializes in things like Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster. Many of the creatures hunted by cryptozoologists sound a lot like dinosaurs (Mokele Mbembe for instance).

This led me to the rather insane conclusion, along with quite a few Creationist hoaxed artifacts and outright lies I was sucked into via the internet, that dinosaurs and man had co-existed. The primary hoax I fell into was the Ica Stones, a set of rocks with carvings of dinosaurs and other out of place animals in contact with human beings. The hoaxer who carved them actually confessed in 1973 but thanks to Creationists it lives on to deceive future generations.

Creationist brainwashing against Evolution had such a devastating effect that it wasn’t until I was an agnostic-theist leaning towards atheism, some years later, that I began to accept Evolution. It wasn’t that I believed in Creation anymore but that I was still resistant to Evolution. For a few months there I’d even tried to believe human beings were created by aliens but it didn’t take long for the evidence to overturn such a silly idea.

So what finally changed my mind and convinced me that Evolution was worth believing? Several Youtubers were integral in the fall of the last vestiges of my brain-washing. They are:

Aronra, Thunderf00t and DonExodus2

Would Creationists want scientists in their churches preaching how Creationism is a theory in crisis and that Evolution is a better alternative? Would they immediately claim this is a violation of their first amendment rights? I think they would go, pardon my French, apeshit if anyone tried that. And with that I think the argument is over, Creationism loses.

If there are any subjects regarding religion, Christianity or the Bible that you would like me to tackle in a future post please let me know. Your ideas, input and opinions are appreciated.

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